Quick verdict in Apple trial doesn't mean jury shirked its duty, expert says

The jury in the Apple-Samsung trial appears to have reached a reasoned, if quick, decision, according to one legal expert

With the verdict in the Apple-Samsung trial delivered after less than three days it's tempting to think the jury just wanted to get it over with by the weekend, but that's not necessarily the case, one legal expert said Friday.

"It's surprising they came back so quickly, given that it was a complicated case and very complicated verdict form, but that said, it looks like they were thoughtful about it and they did their job," said Roy Futterman, director at DOAR Litigation Consulting and a clinical psychologist who works on trial strategies and the mindset of jurors.

"One sign of that is that the verdicts were consistent, they held together -- they voted one way on infringement and another way on invalidity; it all tells the same big story," he said.

"The other way you can see they were thoughtful is that they did pick and choose among devices. They didn't just go across the board and check everything -- they said they infringed on this bit not on this bit, so they made some clear choices.

"So it was surprising to me that they came back that quickly, but it looks like they did a lot of work in a short amount of time,"

The jury at the U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, delivered a verdict almost entirely in Apple's favor on Friday afternoon and awarded it damages of slightly more than $1 billion.

The jury determined Samsung had violated several of Apple's technology and design patents and also concluded that, despite Samsung's claims to the contrary, Apple did not violate any Samsung patents.

In a statement, Samsung said the verdict should not be viewed as a win for Apple but "as a loss for the American consumer." It's unfortunate that patent law can give one company "a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners," it said, and vowed that the case was not over, suggesting it will appeal.

The verdict form was a complex one, in part because it had to address several patents and numerous products, and because charges were brought against various subsidiaries of the two companies. The verdict form contained as many as 700 discrete points the jury had to consider.

Samsung's lawyers had their work cut out for them before the case even started, because it's so widely accepted that Apple's products changed the smartphone and tablet markets, Futterman said.

"I think Apple's legal team did a very good job of conveying their message, but I also think people in America just intuitively know that Apple did change things, they changed it with the iPhone and they changed it with the iPad," he said.

That belief among jurors may also help to explain why they reached a verdict so quickly.

"Samsung had a huge hurdle, which is that even lay people know [Apple's] phones changed everything, and for them to be able to fight that was already very difficult," he said.

The jury also found that Samsung infringed Apple's patents wilfully, or knowingly. In those circumstances a judge can often award treble damages.

"Wilful infringement often makes things go through the roof; Samsung is in big trouble, no question," said Futterman.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?